Odd Bits

Laughter in Ancient Rome

July 25, 2014

At some level, humor is a personal thing, as any one knows who’s made a joke only to be greeted with a fish-eye stare or squirmed uncomfortably as everyone around her laughs at something that seems–not funny. Humor seems to be tied to time, place, personality, age, and occasionally gender. If that’s the case, why […]

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Shin-Kickers From History: Sojourner Truth

July 18, 2014

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in 1797 as Isabella Baumfree. She spent her early life as a slave on estate in New York*–running away when her master failed to keep his promise to set her free. Active in both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements, she was one of the most important human rights […]

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In which I consider soccer, or at least books about soccer

July 15, 2014

The World Cup is over and some of you are suffering from soccer* withdrawal. Unlikely though it may seem to those of you who know me in real life,I have some reading suggestions that will let you feed both lingering soccer mania and history curiosity. Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains The World: An {Unlikely} Theory […]

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Timelines

July 11, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a reader in response to my post on historical periodization that cried out for for further thought. He raised the question of timelines, saying he found it useful to look at “what was happening elsewhere when this was happening to me and mine”. Personally, I […]

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We have a winner! (And a recommendation)

July 8, 2014

Thanks to all of you who threw your names in the hat for a chance to win a copy of Nick Lloyd’s Hundred Days. I’m glad I didn’t have to pick on merit: you sent me links to World War I-related blog posts, quotations from Wilfred Owen, a plea on behalf of a local library, […]

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Happy Fourth of July

July 4, 2014

4th of July picnic in Rogers, Arkansas, ca 1904 If my readers outside the United States will bear with me for a post: Dear Americans: Take a moment in your celebrations to remember what we’re celebrating: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their […]

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In which I consider historical novels

June 14, 2014

Occasionally two separate projects overlap in my head, creating bubbles of thought. (The process is a bit like pouring vinegar on baking soda: the end product is active and slightly acidic.) This is one of those times. As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading about Boudica’s revolt against the Roman empire. At the same time, […]

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In which I consider the nature of historical periods–and moving

June 11, 2014

Despite good intentions, and a couple of creative efforts,*  I succumbed to radio silence here in the Margins while My Own True Love and I moved four whole blocks.  The construction isn’t quite done, but we’re half-way settled into the new house. (Okay, maybe a quarter of the way.  Between us we have a lot […]

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Moving Pictures

May 27, 2014

It’s a week and counting ’til our move. I’d rather be writing blog posts than sorting, pitching, packing, and hauling. But that’s not realistic. Instead, I’d like to share with you these two video clips from the British Pathé archives. The first is King George VI giving the real speech that inspired the film The […]

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Re-Run: The First Common Market?

May 24, 2014

  My Own True Love and I leave next week for Belgium and my thoughts are turning toward Waterloo, Flanders Field, and the Hanseatic League.* Especially the Hanseatic League. I’m fascinated by traveling merchants, from the Silk Road caravans that brought luxury goods from China and India to the Muslim peddlers who sold dry goods […]

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